“The state medical examiner clearly was influenced by the Moore Police Department. A review of the file indicated that there were multiple calls, multiple attempts to persuade the findings and we feel like this is indicative of what exactly what happened in this situation,” Bethea said.
6/20/2014 Related Story: DA: Moore Officers Clear In Death Of Luis Rodriguez
News 9 asked how those calls were attempts to persuade the medical examiner's decision and not just to check the status of the case.
“Medical examiners across the country on day-to-day basis go out there and make determinations regarding someone's cause of death. They don't need specific findings,” Bethea said. "So, therefore, the question becomes, ‘Why are you contacting them? Why are you going up there and making multiple attempts to speak to them?'”
Rodriguez's cause of death in the first autopsy performed by the state medical examiner's office is cardiac arrhythmia, but a new independent autopsy performed by Private Autopsy Services in Oklahoma City said it is asphyxia.
9/16/2014 Related Story: Private Autopsy Claims Asphyxia Killed Man In Moore In-Custody Death Case
In the outside autopsy, the report stated the doctor performing the exam agreed “with their findings in the most part but there are a few exceptions.” The autopsy report went on to say, “The most probable cause of arrhythmia found in the ambulance transportation must have been … caused by restricted breathing, caused by external restrictive forces applied by police during the arrest.”
Now, a civil lawsuit is in the works against the Moore Police Department, the individual officers involved in the arrest as well as the Warren Theatre.